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Where to live around Birmingham?

(77 Posts)
Baroozer Tue 02-Apr-13 20:51:07

DH has got a job in the centre of Birmingham so we are going to be moving to that area. Neither of us wants to live in Birmingham, but DH doesn't want a massive commute (40 minutes max, and he'll be travelling in at 7am and out at 7pm so he should hopefully avoid rush hour).

We have DC (oldest is 9) so we're looking for a decent primary school, a decent secondary (it doesn't have to be a grammar) and a friendly neighbourhood. If there was a reasonable gymnastics club nearby that would be a bonus.

DH used to live in Stafford as a child and does not want to go back there for some unfathomable reason. He prefers Worcestershire and Warwickshire, but we can be flexible (apart from the Stafford thing).

Thanks in advance.

PfftTheMagicDraco Thu 04-Apr-13 17:56:09

tamworth is manky.

Bue Thu 04-Apr-13 18:10:01

Kenilworth and Coventry are worlds apart, I don't associate the two at all. (Although there is really nothing wrong with Cov, it's not rough, just not very attractive.)

I prefer Leamington over Warwick but both are nice. Certainly a lot more going on in Leamington though, far more shopping, much more interesting life for teenagers I would have thought.

Sollihull is very smart, but it has a different feel than these others. To me it feels like suburban Brum, not like a separate, small town.

I know nothing of Worcester but my friend is dying to move back there!

FrauMoose Thu 04-Apr-13 18:14:08

I think it's terribly hard to advise without knowing more about your priorities. For example you might want to live in as affluent/middle-class an area as possible because that seems 'nicer.' You might want to live where you have access to a range of cultural activities and/or good countryside and/or a few independent shops. A manageable commute by car might be what you want - or perhaps a good train service is equally important. Ofsted league tables and selective schools might be a key factor. You might want the biggest modern property your money would buy. Or you might like Victorian houses. Depending on this lot, with your -quite generous - budget, you could go pretty well anywhere.

NB. From about 7.30 onwards roads in and around Birmingham the traffic builds up very quickly indeed. Me, I'd go for a good train service and/or trying to live a bit closer to the city. Particularly if you want any quality time with the person who is doing the commuting.

Baroozer Fri 05-Apr-13 10:48:04

You're right, FrauMoose, I've been too vague to get proper advice.

We would like to live in a fairly affluent/middle class area. We live in a commuter village now so there are lots of professional couples around with similar aspirations for their children. I hate how snobby that sounds, but equally my DS loves the local chess club and I would like him to know children whose parents won't take the piss out of him for being a bit geeky.

We don't want to be actually in Birmingham because we prefer to be in more of a countryside area. I like being able to walk out of our front door and see fields. I like being able to walk for five minutes max before I'm in proper countryside.

On the other hand, the shorter the commute is, the better. However, after a few years DH will probably be able to leave the centre of Birmingham and work in a local town instead so, if it's a toss-up between slightly shorter commute or living more in the countryside, the countryside wins.

We're not overly fussed about selective schools. We have a DD who is middling academically (though I'd never tell her that) and since the others are currently the type of children who work hard because they want to, and will therefore do as well as they can whichever school they go to, we'd prefer a school where all our children will be able to go together. We don't have any SN to cater for so that's not going to influence our choice of school.

We don't have many preferences about the type of house as long as it has a reasonable size garden, big enough for a vegetable patch and enough space for the kids to run around as well, and I'd like a big kitchen/diner, though that's not a deal-breaker.

We don't care about shops, as long as there is a supermarket that delivers.

The only thing I would really, really like is a leisure centre which has a swimming pool and a gymnastics club, preferably within walking distance. But again, if it's not that close by, I'm not going to throw my toys out of the cot.

I hope that's a bit more helpful. smile

FrauMoose Fri 05-Apr-13 11:08:22

Ah well in that case this sounds good

I am from the North of England and don't much like the countryside South of Birmingham. Very stockbroker beltish, and too flat for my taste. South Warwickshire is very attractive, but a drive rather than a walk away.

Malvern does better for hills and is very well-heeled. Some people commute to Birmingham by train.

I used to like the area round Kinver in Staffordshire, but the facilities would be more limited and the commute would be horrid.

Baroozer Fri 05-Apr-13 18:40:31

I do like the idea of Malvern and its proximity to the hills, but DH regularly works 10 hour shifts and occasionally a 12 hour one, so I can't see him being happy with an hour-long commute.

Flossiechops Fri 05-Apr-13 18:44:54

I think Solihull would suit your wish list more than any other area then. Your budget is excellent and there are many affluent families due to house prices being high.

onedev Fri 05-Apr-13 18:45:09

Knowle or Dorridge might meet your criteria of walking out into the countryside & also getting supermarkets to deliver with a short commute to Birmingham!!

jchocchip Fri 05-Apr-13 18:53:55

I'm on the solihull train now just left Birmingham Moor Street and will be at my Mum's in no time at all. Solihull has good schools and new leisure centre seems to be lots going on in Olton where I grew up!

LadyKooKoo Fri 05-Apr-13 19:15:54

Sutton Coldfield. You could get a house by the 2500 acre park, children could join the sailing club. Schools are great and would be in Bham in less than half an hour. Much nicer than Solihul I think.

Bimbledorf Fri 05-Apr-13 19:24:53

Solihull, which includes villages, Hockley Heath, lapworth, earlswood, knowle and dorridge... fits your criteria. But if I had your budget I would live in Stratford upon Avon in a heartbeat, I love Solihull and live here but wish I could move to Stratford!

holidaysdistantmemory Fri 05-Apr-13 19:33:50

Warwick is lovely. We have a 4 bed, 4 reception house in the nicest part of town and within catchment area of best schools for £350k, well under your budget. Traffic is no worse than anywhere else in my opinion. leamington is 5 mins away (all decent shops, cafés and restaurants you wld hope for there), Brum 30 mins by train, London 1hr by train, countryside, 5 mins drive. Love it.

holidaysdistantmemory Fri 05-Apr-13 19:46:46

Ps two v good leisure centres here, one in Warwick in the beautiful St nicks park (by the river/castle) and a walk for us, a larger one with chutes and beach area etc in leamington. And good thing for future job changes is that it is commutable to Stratford, Rugby, Coventry, Solihull, Brum, Banbury and West London (at a push)

CocoNutter Fri 05-Apr-13 22:45:14

What Bue Sid upthread smile

Kenilworth has lovely countryside around and very easy to walk from the house. Schools are really good. I'd live in Kenilworth or Leamington (north Leam nicer than south Leam generally) if I could afford it.

senua Fri 05-Apr-13 23:02:15

Try looking SW to Stourbridge/Hagley. Ver naice. Good schools. Good commute by train (but horrendous by car). Close to beautiful countryside with some lovely villages.

CocoNutter Sat 06-Apr-13 09:13:57

said, not Sid. Stupid phone. MNHQ we really need a 'stupid autocomplete' emoticon!

UptheChimney Sat 06-Apr-13 13:27:37

I grew up near Alcester (but in a manor house with a lot of land, so I doubt your budget would reach to that I'm afraid). It's a lovely small town, in beautiful part of the county, although the lovely old houses are now also beyond your budget. But if your chilen aren't really academically achieving enough to get into the grammar, then the high schools about aren't that great.

However, as someone who's lived in and around Birmingham for most of my life, I think you're being rather short-sighted snobbish about central Birmingham, particularly south Birmingham. It's home to one of the country's top universities, and so in suburbs such as Edgbaston and Moseley, there are loads of university staff. Academic families about in those areas, and I think that sort of neighbourhood would offer far more than the sort of 'executive home' environment you seem to want. Although again, if your children can't get into grammar school, you'd probably have to go to an independent school.

But then, although I grew up in a privileged way, I've never worried about mixing with all sorts of people. People are just people, and if you're confident in your own skin, you can mix with anyone.

mrsXsweet Sat 06-Apr-13 14:40:12

I grew up in Stratford and went to the grammar school in Alcester. Family still live in Stratford and they say it is feeling soulless these days. There also seems to be a lot of pressure on the primary schools due to developments not fulfilling obligations to build a school.
When I was at school Alcester High and Benny's (in particular) were good schools and loads of the pupils went to the grammar for 6th form and shone with pupils getting accepted to do medicine, go to Oxbridge etc. so they must have been doing something right! It was about 15 years ago though so times change.
If your husband is considering commuting to Birmingham by train then i wouldn't consider Stratford as it is a hideously slow line, stopping at all the villages.

Baroozer Sat 06-Apr-13 15:54:21

UptheChimney, I'm not sure how wanting to be able to walk a short distance into proper countryside equates to being short-sighted snobbish about central Birmingham.

Baroozer Sat 06-Apr-13 15:56:36

mrsXsweet, I think DH would normally be travelling by car. His hours can change at a moment's notice. A train station would be handy, but it wouldn't be a daily thing.

HormonalHousewife Sat 06-Apr-13 16:08:12

We have just moved to knowle from out of the area and reading your posts describes our situation a couple of years ago almost to a tee !

Dh had a flat provided for a couple of months and used that to get a feel of the city, so he really did the groundwork and considered Solihull to be right for us.

Solihull is a like living in a bubble really, excellent schools , facilities, transport links, countryside on your doorstep. I don't feel the need to go further afield and am embarrassed to admit I haven't been to Sutton or any of the other areas - I don't need too !

Dh catches the train from widney manor which is walking distance (just) into snow hill and it's about 20 mins. He also works long hours and if he takes the car he tends to use the longer m6 route and leaves about 7.50 am. He has a space at work so parking not an issue.

I don't specifically know about gymnastics but I'd do a backward flip if there wasn't a club that suited you.

House prices are high but they seem to sell reasonably. There has Ben a rash of sold boards around me recently.

The best thing you can do is drive around the areas you are considering and get A feel for the place.

HormonalHousewife Sat 06-Apr-13 16:18:58

You are not being shortsighted at all OP. me thinks upthechimney is the one being a bit sniffy here (have we talked money ?)

Edgebaston harbourne are lovely in their own rightbut a million times different in terms of location. I couldn't / wouldnt want to live there despite being able to afford a considerable house there - some of us just want different things.

AvrilPoisson Sat 06-Apr-13 16:34:10

I would suggest Barnt Green, Hagley, Romsley tbh, in the countryside really, or Knowle/Dorridge. I would be more concerned about schooling myself though!

AvrilPoisson Sat 06-Apr-13 16:53:14

wait- he's going to drive????
He'll never manage that within 40m from any of these places!

Baroozer Sat 06-Apr-13 17:08:43

Avril, he will be driving outside rush hour. His job normally starts at 8am so he'd be trying to get into work for 7:45am and finishes at 6pm (at the earliest).

Schooling is a big thing for us too, which is why I'm leaning towards Knowle/Dorridge. Arden School looks good.

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